Is Justify Ready for Thoroughbred Racing Glory?

Another major sporting event is scheduled to take place tomorrow in New York. The King of Sports, Thoroughbred horse racing takes the spotlight tomorrow at the Belmont Race Track, in Elmont, New York when 10 horses will compete for the Belmont Stakes. This race is much more than winning a stake race because it represents the final leg of the prestigious Triple Crown title.

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, often shortened to Triple Crown, comprises three races for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. These races are:

  1. Kentucky Derby, run over the 1 14-mile (10 furlongs) dirt track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.
  1. Preakness Stakes, run over the 1 316-mile (11 furlongs dirt track at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland.
  2. Belmont Stakes, run over the 1 12-mile (12 furlongs) dirt track (the longest in U.S. thoroughbred racing) at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York.
  1. Winning all three of these Thoroughbred horse races is considered the greatest accomplishment in Thoroughbred racing.

Although there are nine horses running the Belmont Stakes only one horse can win the Triple Crown and its Justify. This is because Justify won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Trained by the legendary trainer, Bob Baffert and with the Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle, Justify will be the overwhelming favorite. This is not an easy race, however, and Justify will have to demonstrate he has stamina to go the distance.

The first winner of all three Triple Crown races was Sir Barton in 1919 and since that time only 12 horses as won the Triple Crown. The last winner was American Pharaoh in 2015. It seems amazing that only 12 horses have won the Triple Crown From 1919 to 2015 9a period of 96 years. The longest period between wins was 37 years when Affirmed won it in 1978 followed by American Pharaoh in 2015. There is a good reason why it’s difficult for horses to win this Holy Grail of horse racing and it’s the distance of 1-1/2 mile. Winning a 10-furlong race is not as challenging as most Grade 1 or 2 horses are accustomed to running this distance. The second leg of the Triple Crown gets a little challenging as they have to run an extra furlong. The final leg of 12 furlong is not a distance that most horses typically run during their two and three-year-old career.

The Belmont Stakes race of 12 furlongs is a race of strategy and requires not only a good horse to navigate the distance successfully but an experienced jockey to guide the horse to the wire. Justify seems to have the right credentials that includes the top jockey and trainer. Still there is a strong possibility that there might not be a Triple crown winner this year as upsets are common as evidenced in only 12 horses winning the Triple Crown.

If there is going to be an upset, look for it to come from the following three horses: Hofburg, Bravazo, and Tenfold. So as not to be on the wrong side of horse racing history I am rooting for Justify.